26 boxes. 30 days. 642 pairs. 1284 shoes. Thousands of lives changed. We want to say thank you.
The Season of Giving at the Caribe Resort
During the entire month of November, we partnered with the global non-profit Soles4Souls for a shoe drive. We set a goal of collecting 100 pairs of shoes to help provide relief and sustainable jobs to people all around the world. We passed out fliers to local businesses, and the word began to spread around the community. Every morning we checked our donation bins, and as the shoes started piling up, we became hopeful that we would reach our goal.
Soles4Souls is an amazing organization, and we are proud to partner with them. In the last 15 years, they have distributed over 35 million pairs of shoes, and currently work in 127 countries. Shoes are given to homeless shelters, after school programs, disaster relief organizations, and other locations where people lack footwear entirely. Can you imagine not having shoes to wear? For the people that we are reaching, that is their reality. The shoes are also distributed to families living in extreme poverty. These families can start and sustain their own small business by selling them and earning an income for their family. Talk about a life-changing organization, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.
We Did It!
About half-way through the month of November, we reached our goal of 100 pairs. We are ecstatic about the impact we are making on people’s lives globally. We decided to double our goal, and shoot for collecting 200 pairs of shoes! That sounded like a lot at the time, but we had received a tremendous amount of support from our owners, guests, employees, and community members. Little did we know, this was only the beginning.
On November 22nd, it was brought to our attention that a local business, school, and church had combined efforts in collecting shoes. Together, they made the largest donation of the month. This donation consisted of 391 brand-new pairs of shoes for both kids and adults. The kicks came from Yabba’s Wacky Snack Shack in Foley and Gulf Shores, and Holy Spirit Episcopal Church and Day School in Gulf Shores. Our hearts overflowed with joy, and this donation truly brought our shoe drive to life. We revised our goal to 600 pairs, and the contributions kept pouring in.
Where’d My Desk Go?
Having an abundance of shoes when running a shoe drive is a good problem to have. We did not anticipate this, but we quickly found that footwear can be stacked just about anywhere. I can’t believe how fast my office turned into a shoe closet! I loved walking into my office each morning and being reminded of the lives we are changing through something as simple as a pair of sneakers.
As the months changed from November to December, it was time to wrap things up and send the shoes to a Soles4Souls distribution center. This required that we count them, fill out the necessary paperwork, box them up, and take them to the UPS store. Each individual pair of shoes was laid out and we began assembling the boxes. We had to document our successes, of course, and it only felt right to include our dinosaur friend who helped us along the way. Dinosaurs don’t wear shoes, but even this one found a pair to donate to a good cause.
Hard Work Pays Off
Getting all of the shoes ready for shipment took a village. Luckily, our Caribe Resort employees are always willing to lend a hand when needed, and we had help from numerous departments. As soon as we packed all 26 boxes, we caravanned to the local UPS store, and sent them off! We are so thankful for such an active community that helped in so many different ways. It’s hard to believe how many people have access to so little. We are fortunate that we had the opportunity to help them gain something that most of us take for granted.
Ways To Get Involved
If you are looking to get involved with this organization or want to help us collect even more kicks in the future, look no further! We are running this shoe drive again next year, so keep your closet full until then. When we make the announcement that we will start collecting shoes again, that is your cue to clean that closet out! You can also participate in “National Go Barefoot Day,” which is held annually on June 1st. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness for the millions of people who live without adequate footwear every day. National Go Barefoot Day is perfect for pledging your support, spreading the word, and literally going barefoot.
We Thank You
The final count is in! We collected 642 pairs of new or gently-worn shoes throughout the entire month of November–what an accomplishment! It’s incredible to think that we started with a goal of 100 pairs and ended with over 6x the amount we hoped for. This would not have happened without the involvement of so many people. We want to extend the utmost amount of thanks to all who took part in it. To our guests, owners, employees, community members, and local businesses, thank you. Whether you donated one pair, one-hundred pairs, or simply spread the word in the community or on social media, thank you. If you had any hand in this at all, we are so grateful for your help in making this such a success, THANK YOU!